Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - January 06, 2005

From: Baltimore, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native Littleleaf Boxwood and native alternatives for Baltimore
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking for a small hedge or shrub, that will look nice year round, and won't get too large. I live in Baltimore, MD. I have heard of Winter Gem Boxwood. Will this prove hardy in my area? How would I care for it best to ensure proper growth? Is there something else you would recommend? It cannot be harmful to dogs and I'm not looking for something that would draw bees or other annoying insects (butterflies are OK).

ANSWER:

Winter Gem Boxwood or Littleleaf Boxwood (Buxus microphylla) is very cold hardy and seems to fit your other criteria. It does, however, have fragrant flowers and will attract bees and other insects when it is in bloom. You can read all about Buxus microphylla at Floridata Marketplace.

Since Buxus microphyllais not a native (it comes from Japan), you might like to consider something native to your area. You can do an Advanced Search for plants native to Maryland using several characteristics (such as Growth Form, Growing Conditions, etc.) in the Native Plants Database on the Wildflower Center web page. Here are three possibilities you can read about:

1. Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia).

2. Leather leaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata). Our web page doesn't show a picture, but you can see one in the USDA Plants Database.

3. Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera).

You can find suppliers of native plants in your area on the Wildflower Center web page by selecting "Explore Plants" from the side bar and then choosing "Suppliers Directory". You will then be able to search "Nurseries" and/or "Seed Companies" for suppliers of native plants in your state or region.
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Specifications for a property in Corning CA
March 29, 2012 - Drought resistant, deer resistant, low growing (ground cover), and shade tolerant request: I am looking for a variety of species that not only fit the above preferences, but also a few other things. ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Chinese pistache in Eagle Pass, TX
June 14, 2009 - Hi Mr Smarty Plants!! I just bought a young chinese pistache tree, is no bigger than 7 feet. I've never had one of these trees before, I'm about to plant it and I would also like to fertilize it...
view the full question and answer

Is non-native palm tree poisonous from Midland TX
March 25, 2011 - Are palm trees poisonous? My husband is a landscaper and was trimming palm trees at work and when he was cutting them down it fell on him and he has scratches on his arm and one got caught on his arm...
view the full question and answer

Why is non-native peach tree not going dormant in Owensville IN
December 19, 2011 - I have a peach tree I grew from a peach pit. It is about 2 years old. I planted the tree in my yard this summer. It is now about 3' tall. My problem is it is not going dormant. We have had several fr...
view the full question and answer

Non-native crepe myrtles in Coleman, TX
March 06, 2009 - We want to plant 2 white crepe myrtle trees on our family cemetery plot in Coleman TX. Once they get established, they will be pretty much on their own. Wind and sun are abundant. Rain is scarce. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.